Greener Living … It Takes a Village

Just now the phone rang and to my delight and surprise it was a friend from the next county.  After saying hello and exchanging the usual pleasantries I asked, “are you out and about?” and was again delighted and surprised to hear her reply, “we are in your driveway.”

We popped out to say hello.  She couldn’t visit but she came to drop off the goods she bought from an Amish farm.  The farm is closer to her than it is to me; moreover she is often driving somewhere or other – I am not.  I give her a list of things I need and when she goes to the farm she picks them up for me.  I reimburse her for the goods – and generally sweeten the deal with some home-ground idli batter, of which she and her whole family are die-hard fans.

The Amish strive to live with a low footprint and I like to buy from them when possible.  I would never drive to Pennsylvania but since my friend often comes to Bel Air, she keeps us in mind when planning her visits to the farm and subsequent trips to town.

It takes a village to go green.

Among the goods I buy from the Amish are whole grains – wheat, spelt and einkorn berries.   I grind my grains just-in-time.  To save money and packaging, I get a 25 lb bag and share with a friend in Bel Air.  She does not have a grain mill so I grind for her and give her her share.  She taught me how to make kombucha, which I could not afford if I had to buy it.  Now I have it on tap in my own kitchen, and without any packaging other than the tea bags, which I compost.

It takes a village to go green.

My compost bin fills up faster than I can leave it to rot and so every couple of months I have to stop using my bin.  Once you are in the habit of composting, you simply cannot throw away all those peels and pits.  A friend in Bel Air who has a much bigger garden and compost bin than I have was more than happy to accept my compost, which I take to her a few times a week.  At summer parties when we have watermelon there is often competition for who will take home the rind.

It takes a village to go green.

kombuchaAnd when you go green you have to expand your village, too.  Right now I have extra SCOBY in my kombucha – so I am hoping to find someone who wants to start making kombucha in their own kitchen.

[This circles back to something of an inside joke throughout the conference – Dushyant kept asking me, “where is my kombucha!  Maybe I should present him with a new scoby when he moves into his new house.]




Sowing Seeds, Saving the Farm

Yes!  Another Peace Justice and You(th) Conference, bigger and better than ever before!

Sowing seeds, saving the farm: 4th Peace Justice and You(th) conference – AID

Nestled in the hills of Hillsboro, Oregon is the Edible Stories market garden, run by Ganesh and Lakshmi with some help from their daughter Anandhi, who volunteer with AID in Portland. A living example of small-scale sustainable agriculture rooted in natural farming principles and local economy, the garden was a dream venue for the 4th annual Peace, Justice and You(th) conference.

Don’t miss the collaborative story that the kids concocted along with senior social activist and Magsaysay Laureate Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan.

Tour, Volunteers


In honor of India’s Independence Day, the Indian Students’ Association gathered outside the student center, hoisted the flag, sang the anthem and shared thoughts fitting the occasion.  Not before some of us raised a spirited “Inqilab!  Zindabad!” and quietly made our way to the room where the Columbus chapter of AID was meeting.  
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Conference, Reflections

AID & Me 2017

This year’s AID & Me asked how the ideas we gain through AID can influence everyday decisions we make.  Can we segregate AID from our lives?  Should we?  Does e-activism make any difference?  Watch the cast toss around these questions and poke good-natured fun at the year in AID.